August 23, 2013: There has been a significant increase in the proportion of members who say they live day-to-day and cheque-to-cheque, and a significant decrease in those who say they live comfortably in retirement since we started asking this four years ago, and this change has occurred in the past year.
The vast majority of members, perhaps because of this change in their fortunes, agree that CARP’s three main priorities of ensuring retirement security, protecting the rights of older workers and creating an investor protection agency will help ensure financial security for older Canadians. Nonetheless, they do not think the government has made much progress on this front.
Members agree of the three areas of interest, retirement security is the more important, perhaps because two thirds of them have been very poor at one time or another (or more than once). In the case of financial emergency, (most likely a market crash or catastrophic illness) members are most likely to say they will liquidate their investments or, if they have none, sell their homes.
There is agreement that CPP, intended to replace 25% of retirement income, is not adequate to its purpose, and about one third (37 percent, on average) is seen as the appropriate income replacement level for CPP. The vast majority think CPP enhancement is a good idea, to end senior poverty and help Canadians save enough for retirement. One half of members think increasing the age for OAS/GIS is not a good idea, because of its effect on senior poverty, while about a third think it’s a good idea, mostly because people are living longer. Three quarters think senior poverty in Canada is a problem which shames us as a country.
Members are enthusiastic about CARP’s proposed supplementary Universal Pension Plan (UPP), which they see as the solution to senior poverty. Flex time and innovative job scheduling are seen to be the key to getting more older workers in the labour force, and a national investor protection agency is seen to be important to protect small investors and retirees from fraud.
The Liberals and the Conservatives are in a tight race for first place in voter preference, while the NDP lags.